Sunday, September 27, 2009

Week 3 Wrap

Another 11-5 week. 31-16-1 for the season. I know if I were to actually start betting, my winning percentage would plummet.

  • Washington at Detroit +6: Lions 19, Redskins 14. Win
  • Green Bay -7 at St. Louis: Packers 36, Rams 17. Win
  • San Francisco at Minnesota -7: Vikings 27, 49ers 24. Loss
  • Atlanta at New England -4.5: Pats 26, Falcons 10 Win
  • Tennessee +3 at NY Jets: Jets 24, Titans 17 Loss
  • Kansas City at Philadelphia -9: Eagles 34, Chiefs 14. Win
  • NY Giants -7 at Tampa Bay: Giants 24, Bucs 0. Win
  • Cleveland at Baltimore -13.5: Ravens 34, Browns 3. Win
  • Jacksonville +4 at Houston: Jaguars 31, Texans 24. Win
  • Chicago-3 at Seattle: Bears 25, Seahawks 19. Win
  • New Orleans -6.5 at Buffalo: Saints 27, Bills 7. Win
  • Pittsburgh -4 at Cincinnati: Bengals 23, Steelers 20. Loss Told you to bet against my Lock of the Week.
  • Denver at Oakland +2: Broncos 23, Raiders 3. Loss JaMarcus Russell: 12-21 for 60 yards, 2 picks. $35 million guaranteed, 3 yards/attempt.
  • Miami +6 at San Diego: Chargers 23, Dolphins 13. Loss Give the Chargers credit, but Pennington's injury was the difference.
  • Indianapolis +2.5 at Arizona: Colts 31, Cards 10. Win
  • Carolina at Dallas -9: Cowboys 21, Panthers 7. Win

Friday, September 25, 2009

Week 3 Picks

It's Saturday already, so let's get right to it:

  • Washington at Detroit +6: Detroit won't go 0-16 again, so maybe this is their week.
  • Green Bay -7 at St. Louis: The Rams, on the other hand, might go 0-16.
  • San Francisco at Minnesota -7: I like the 49ers, and I think they'll win their division, but this is a terrible matchup for them. They rely on running the ball, and no one runs against the Vikings.
  • Atlanta at New England -4.5: I swore I wouldn't pick the Pats again after they burned me twice, but I can't help myself. It's just not time yet for Matt Ryan and Roddy White to take the mantle from Tom Brady and Randy Moss.
  • Tennessee +3 at NY Jets: The Titans are too good to be 0-3, and the Jets aren't good enough to be 3-0.
  • Kansas City at Philadelphia -9: Too many injuries in this game, I don't want any part of it. The Eagles tend to bounce back really well after a big loss, but they also suck the week before the bye. In the end, the Eagles defense is too much for the Chiefs.
  • NY Giants -7 at Tampa Bay: I love home dogs, but not this one. The G-Men play too well on the road, are better coached, and have a lot more talent.
  • Cleveland at Baltimore -13.5: Eric Mangini is officially on the hot seat!
  • Jacksonville +4 at Houston: Call it a feeling...but when the Jags were good and the Texans were terrible, Houston always gave them a run for their money. Now that the roles are reversed, I'm smelling an upset.
  • Bears -3 at Seattle: The injuries are mounting in the great Northwest, and Jim Mora still coaches like...Jim Mora.
  • New Orleans -6.5 at Buffalo: I almost pulled the trigger on Buffalo, since the Saints are primed for a letdown after that huge road win against the Eagles. But Trent Edwards over Drew Brees? I can't do it.
  • Pittsburgh -4 at Cincinnati: This is my Lock of the Week, which means you should bet your house against me.
  • Denver at Oakland +2: The Raiders managed to really look bad, even in their win last week. But I can't pick the Broncos to be 3-0. I probably should, but I can't.
  • Miami +6 at San Diego: Too many injuries for the Bolts, and Miami is desperate for a win.
  • Indianapolis +2.5 at Arizona: This is a gift from the football gods...Peyton Manning and the points, take it to the bank.
  • Carolina at Dallas -9: The Cowboys, in recent years, have followed up troubling early-season losses with big wins against mediocre teams. I'm smelling a pattern.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Week 2 Wrap

I haven't counted yet, but I think I'm over .500 for the second week in a row!

  • Falcons 28, Panthers 20 - My pick: Atlanta -6 Win The Panthers did bounce back and keep it competitive, but the Falcons were just too much for them in the end. It's scary when I'm right.
  • Vikings 27, Lions 13 - My pick: Minnesota -10 Win
  • Bengals 31, Packers 24 - My pick: Green Bay -9.5 Loss
  • Texans 34, Titans 31 - My pick: Tennessee -6.5 Loss The Titans are 0-2 with two close losses and suddenly look like a team missing the playoffs.
  • Raiders 13, Chiefs 10 - My pick: Kansas City -3 Loss The Chiefs outgained the Raiders 414-176 and still managed to lose somehow.
  • Jets 16, Pats 10 - My pick: New England -4 Loss Gotta give the Jets a lot of credit...they poked the bear with a stick, and then beat the shit out of it.
  • Saints 48, Eagles 22 - My pick: New Orleans even Win More on this game below.
  • Redskins 9, Rams 7 - My pick: St. Louis +10 Win
  • Cardinals 31, Jags 17 - My pick: Arizona -3 Win
  • 49ers 23, Seahawks 10 - My pick: San Francisco +1 Win
  • Bills 33, Bucs 20 - My pick: Buffalo -5 Win
  • Bears 17, Steelers 14 - My pick: Pittsburgh -3 Loss When's the last time Jeff Reed missed two FGs in a game? I can't remember either.
  • Ravens 31, Chargers 26 - My pick: Baltimore +3 Win
  • Broncos 27, Browns 6 - My pick: Cleveland +3 Loss Mangenius strikes again.
  • Giants 33, Cowboys 31 - My pick: New York +3 Win
  • Colts 27, Dolphins 23 - My pick: Indianapolis -4 Push

That's a record of 9-6-1 for the week, 20-11-1 for the season. If you'd actually been betting with me, you'd have made some decent money. Of course, I haven't been betting on these picks, so I can't expect you to.

More on the Eagles game:
A lot of the 'analysis' of this game has demonized the Eagles defense and praised Drew Brees. Brees might be the best QB in the game right now, and the Eagles defense didn't play as well as they could have, but the real story of this game was turnovers and poor special teams play. The Eagles turned the ball over twice inside their own 25 and shanked two more punts to start Saints drives at the 50. I don't care how your defense plays, giving an offense like the Saints four drives at the 50 or better will make it tough to win.

For the game, the Eagles outgained the Saints, had the same number of first downs, and converted the same percentage of third downs. Brees did exactly what a great QB should do - take advantage of the opportunities he was handed - but don't buy the nonsense about him 'picking apart' the Eagles. Hidden yards and turnovers were the difference.

I was disappointed with the defensive gameplan. I expected pressure up the middle combined with press coverage, but instead we got a lot of 4-man rush with soft zone behind it. They also played a lot of base defense, when I would have treated Shockey and Bush like receivers and lined up in nickel most of the game. Hopefully McDermott learns from this film, and won't make the same mistakes if we face the Saints again in the playoffs.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Picking Week 2

Ah, if I'd only been terrible in Week 1, I could have quit in disgust. But with an 11-5 record, I'm compelled to continue. Lines are taken from ESPN, and are current as of today.

  • Carolina at Atlanta -6: I was really tempted to pick Carolina for a bounceback game here...usually veteran teams who were embarrassed the week before come out with a good game the next week. And Atlanta doesn't have nearly the defensive horses that the Eagles have, either with the pass rush or secondary, even though they played well against Miami. But Atlanta was undefeated at home last year against division opponents, and are quite simply the better team. Also, the line started at 7 and has moved to 6, which means there's a lot of people buying that bounceback theory for Carolina, and it's usually wise to bet against the crowd.
  • Minnesota -10 at Detroit: Detroit gave up 150 yards rushing to Mike Bell, and now have to face Adrian Peterson. Their rookie QB plays his first home game against one of best three defenses in the NFL. This is a recipe for disaster.
  • Cincinnati at Green Bay -9.5: Green Bay is better at pretty much every position, other than QB (which is a wash.)
  • Houston at Tennessee -6.5: It's still September, which means Houston sucks. I could see them playing well and keeping this game close, but Tennessee is a much better team that is tough to beat at home.
  • Oakland at Kansas City -3: I was planning to take Oakland until I saw the line has moved from 4.5 to 3. Both of these teams looked better than expected in a loss, so I'll stick with the home team. KC plays well in Arrowhead, especially against division opponents.
  • New England -4 at NYJets: The Jets are a hot pick this week, with the line moving from 6.5 to 4. There's nothing the Pats love more than putting the smackdown on the hot team that everyone thinks will replace them. I don't love the Pats defense this year, but they'll be more than enough for a rookie QB.
  • New Orleans even at Philadelphia: I don't want either side of this line, to be honest. New Orleans has played the Eagles tough recently, but all those games were in New Orleans. The Saints don't travel well and don't play well on grass, but the Eagles are historically lousy in September, especially at home. I'm picking against my Eagles twice in a row, because I trust Drew Brees a lot more than Kevin Kolb.
  • St. Louis +10 at Washington: Yeah, the Rams are bad. But they were bad last year and still beat the Skins. I think Washington has a good chance of winning, but the Rams should keep it close.
  • Arizona +3 at Jacksonville: Arizona's terrible on the road and are due for a down year, but I can't bring myself to give points with the Jags. I see the Cards squeaking out a close victory with a drive by Warner at the end.
  • Seattle at San Francisco +1: The 49ers play the Seahawks very tough, and should win this game at home, even though I like Seattle's chances to win the division.
  • Tampa Bay at Buffalo -5: This will be an interesting game, to see how the Bills respond to their calamitous Monday Night loss. It wouldn't surprise me if Buffalo started slow, with a bit of a hangover from the previous game. But Tampa's terrible on defense and will end up losing by a TD.
  • Pittsburgh -3 at Chicago: The Bears OL couldn't block Green Bay's 3-4 defense, and Cutler responded by throwing 4 picks. The best 3-4 defense in the business is rolling into town, and will take the Bears apart.
  • Baltimore +3 at San Diego: Should be a close game, so I'll take the points.
  • Cleveland +3 at Denver: Possibly the two worst head coaches in the league face off in a game that neither team deserves to win. I don't want to take either team.
  • NY Giants +3 at Dallas: I can't figure out why Dallas is a 3-point favorite. The Giants are a complete team, while the Cowboys still have no defense (450 yards allowed vs. Tampa.) After watching Cadillac Williams run all over the 'Boys, I have to like the chances of Brandon Jacobs.
  • Indianapolis -4 at Miami: The Dolphins are taking a step back this season and will finish with 6 or 7 wins. They have nothing on offense, and won't outscore Peyton Manning.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Week 1 Wrap

Let's check the results:

  • Pittsburgh 13, Tennessee 10 - My pick: Tennessee +6 Win
  • Atlanta 19, Miami 7 - My pick: Atlanta -4 Win
  • Baltimore 38, Kansas City 24 - My pick: KC +13 Loss - Horrible turnover by KC leads to a garbage-time TD in the last minute for a cover. A bit unlucky, as the Chiefs played tough and hung close.
  • Philadelphia 38, Carolina 10 - My pick: Carloina +2 Loss - I couldn't be happier about being wrong.
  • Denver 12, Cincinnati 7 - My pick: Denver +4 Win
  • Minnesota 34, Cleveland 20 - My pick: Minnesota -4.5 Win
  • Jets 24, Houston 7 - My pick: Jets +4.5 Win - Any time you get points against both the Bengals and the Texans in the month of September, it's a true gift.
  • Indianapolis 14, Jacksonville 12 - My pick: Jags +6 Win
  • New Orleans 45, Detroit 27 - My pick: Saints -13 Win
  • Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21 - My pick: Cowboys -6 Win
  • San Francisco 20, Arizona 16 - My pick: 49ers +6.5 Win
  • Giants 23, Washington 17 - My pick: Giants -6.5 Loss - Screwed by another garbage time TD, and half a point!
  • Seattle 28, St. Louis 0 - My pick: Seattle -8.5 Win
  • Green Bay 21, Chicago 15 - My pick: Packers -3.5 Win
  • New England 25, Buffalo 24 - My pick: Pats -10.5 Loss
  • San Diego 24, Oakland 20 - My pick: Chargers -9 Loss

Amazingly, I finished the week 11-5 against the spread. Now I have to keep picking until I embarrassing myself.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have placed Shawn Andrews on IR to make room for Jeff Garcia. File this one in the 'roster blunder' category for the Eagles. Every year they do something plainly stupid to leave themselves thin at a key position. Two seasons ago it was punt returner, last year it was fullback, and now it's tackle. The current 'swing' tackle, or back-up at either tackle position, is the human turnstile known as King Dunlap. Even though Andrews was coming off a back injury and has a history of mental instability, the Eagles gambled by moving his brother to guard and not re-signing Jon Runyan. And now they're left short at a crucial spot. If either tackle gets hurt in the next game or two, it's going to create a huge problem. If they had simply left Stacy at tackle and Shawn at guard (where they have much better depth), there'd by no problem with Shawn's injury. They also stubbornly refuse to cut one of their seven receivers and sign a veteran tackle like Runyan or Langston Walker. I sure hope this decision doesn't come back to bite them.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Eagles Wrap-up

I definitely didn't see 38-10 coming. Here's the Good, the Bad, and the Jake Delhomme from this game:


  • Sean McDermott - A tremendous job calling his first game on defense. He picked up right where Jim Johnson left off, generating tremendous pressure while often rushing just five by overloading a specific area of the line. And he even mixed in an occasional straight coverage play - the second INT by Sheldon was a three-man rush. Of course he was helped out by the horrid play of Jake Delhomme, but it's hard to argue with the results.
  • Omar Gaither - He looked right at home back at MLB, strong against the run and reacting quickly to the pass.
  • Winston Justice - Had an exceptional game at right tackle...the lone sack he gave up was during garbage time when Kevin Kolb held the ball way too long. He was also a factor run blocking.
  • DeSean Jackson - That punt return TD was a killer. It was a key moment in the game, and clearly deflated the Panthers.


  • Kevin Kolb - Held the ball way too long, missed reads, and threw the ball inaccurately. But other than that, he was ok.
  • Quintin Demps - Two games in a row with boneheaded penalties. You simply can't trust this guy to be on the field anymore.
  • Julius Peppers - Possibly the most overhyped, overrated player in the NFL. Getting paid $14 million this season, and had no impact on the game until garbage time against a backup QB. He didn't forget his sack dance, completely embarrassing himself as his team was losing by 28 points.

Jake Delhomme
Are you kidding me? A 5-year contract extension after a 6-turnover performance in the playoffs? He rewarded that decision with a 5-turnover day that ended midway through the third quarter.

Now, a note on the McNabb injury...the Eagles play the next two games at home against New Orleans and Kansas City, followed by their bye. With a cracked rib, McNabb should sit the next three weeks and let it heal. Even with the Kevin Kolb we saw today, the Eagles can manage a 1-1 record in the next two games, and that's good enough. The last thing we need is for McNabb to further hurt himself.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cultural Devolution

I've already blogged about The Big Sort in America, the trend of like-minded people clustering together to form partisan neighborhoods with similar political beliefs. This naturally encourages close-mindedness as people are less exposed to anyone with a different socioeconomic status or value system. Counter-intuitively, the wide availability of information on the internet contributes to close-mindedness, as people simply filter their news to read only the blogs and reports of writers with similar belief systems. Instead of a free exchange of ideas to keep our democracy healthy, we're reinforcing our pre-conceived notions and increasing the distance between "us" and "them" within our own country.

So I started to think back on my own life, and I realized I was fairly close-minded before college. My beliefs at that point were mostly shaped by those of my family and friends, as most young people will be. It wasn't until I was exposed to a broad range of ideas, backgrounds, and socioeconomic strata at college, and I was allowed to explore and interpret those ideas on my own, that my mind truly expanded and began to form into the person I am today. Without that exposure, I'd likely be far less questioning, confident, and intellectual.

So it was quite disturbing when I read about the potential disintegration of universities in the near future, whose bloated corpses will be picked apart by the internet. If you buy the author's thesis, and I find it difficult to dispute the economic logic behind it, then soon we'll have even less sharing of ideas. Kids can stay in their own sorted neighborhoods to get their degrees online. Home schooling is already on the rise from K-12, and with everyone staying home for college, those minds will have another four years to form barriers against outside ideas.

It's terrifying to think we've already reached the zenith of democracy, and have begun a slow decline back toward fascism. But democracy can only work when there's an ability to see the Big Picture, to look at a problem from someone else's point-of-view and agree on a solution that works for everyone. If instead we devolve into a nation of close-minded isolationists looking out solely for themselves (doesn't seem like a big step down, does it?) then democracy becomes nothing more than the tyranny of the majority.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Week One

The new football season is nearly here (tomorrow!) I've decided to try to pick against the spread again, knowing well that I have been unsuccessful in every attempt to do so previously. Still, there's something fun about being so consistently wrong.

Tennessee(+6) at Pittsburgh Pittsburgh is a great team who could very well be on their way to another Super Bowl. But anytime I can get six points on a 13-3 team, I can't resist.

Miami at Atlanta(-4) Miami's 11-5 record was a mirage based on a dreadfully easy schedule. Atlanta's 11-5 record was not.

Kansas City(+13) at Baltimore I don't like either side of this line. KC will be competitive this year, though, and Baltimore tends to start the season slowly.

Philadelphia at Carolina(+2) Carolina isn't going to be a good team this season, but then again the Eagles might not be, either. In either case, a 12-4 home dog is generally a good bet, and the Eagles are notoriously slow starters.

Denver(+4) at Cincinnati Denver will be god-awful. But Cincy won five games last season, and I can't give away four points with a bad team.

Minnesota(-4.5) at Cleveland Ironic Game of the Week. Brett Favre got Mangini fired in New York, and then beats him in his first game with a new team. The Browns' defense will be trying to tackle Adrian Peterson all week in their nightmares after this one.

NY Jets(+4.5) at Houston The Jets will be fired up to play their first game for new head coach Rex Ryan, while Houston generally sleepwalks through September. Not a good combo for the Texans.

Jacksonville(+7) at Indianapolis I don't like either side of this line. The Jags tend to keep it close against Indy, however.

Detroit at New Orleans(-13) New Orleans will punt twice in this game, maybe.

Dallas(-6) at Tampa Bay Tampa might get three wins. This isn't one of them.

San Francisco(+6.5) at Arizona I think the 49ers finish the season with a better record than the Cards. I'll take 6.5 and the better team any day.

Washington at NY Giants(-6.5) I don't buy Washington as a drastically improved team, and the Giants handled them last season.

St. Louis at Seattle(-8.5) I'd like to believe that the Rams will be better under their new coach, but they have no talent at all on defense. Nothing.

Chicago at Green Bay(-3.5) Aaron Rodgers vs. Jay Cutler might be a wash, but Green Bay has better WRs, a better OL, and a better defense.

Buffalo at New England(-10.5) With a week to go before the season opener, the Bills have fired their offensive coordinator and released their starting left tackle. And they haven't beaten the Pats in years. I'd take New England if they were giving 20.

San Diego(-9) at Oakland While the rest of the league faces NFL competition, San Diego opens the season with a tune-up against Divison 1-AA Oakland.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Spiting your face

Imagine this conversation:

Andy Reid: So, are you interested in trading for AJ Feeley or Reggie Brown?
Bill Belichick: We like them both, but we'll just wait til you cut them.
AR: We won't cut them, they're too valuable to us to let go with no compensation.
BB: Oh really? What are you going to do, keep 4 QBs and 7 WRs? Hahahaha

Why yes, actually. That's precisely what they'll do. And if it means they only have two TEs on their roster, and that Michael Vick can't practice with the team, well, that's perfectly ok, because the Eagles proved they were right!

Other than that, very few surprises. They kept King Dunlap instead of Dan Klecko, as I suspected they might. Dmitri Patterson got the nod over Jack Ikegwouno, and Moises Fokou got a spot instead of Matt Wilhelm. Most likely, a couple guys I thought might make it - namely Rob Myers and Ikegwouno, will be signed to the practice squad today.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

My take on the 53

Final cuts are today, so I'm almost out of time to guess at who the 53 players to make the Eagles active roster should be.

  • QB (3) - McNabb, Kolb, Vick. The Eagles could put Vick on the reserve-suspended list and keep Feeley instead, but then Vick couldn't practice with the team. And he needs a lot of practice.
  • HB (3) - Westbrook, McCoy, Buckley. Finally, the Eagles have a straight-ahead runner who can convert third-and-short. I hope.
  • FB (1) - Weaver.
  • WR (6) - Jackson, Curtis, Maclin, Avant, Baskett, Gibson. I'm sneaking Amendola onto the practice squad if I can, because Curtis isn't on the team next season.
  • TE (3) - Celek, Curtis, Myers. Matt Schobel is a year overdue for a visit with the Turk. Myers is keeping a spot warm for (hopefully) Ben Watson after trading Feeley to the Pats.
  • OL (9) - Peters, Herremans, Jackson, Andrews x2, Justice, Jean-Gilles, Cole, McGlynn. Andy Reid usually keeps 10 linemen, so I'll probably be wrong here, but I can't find a tenth guy who's earned his way onto the team. With two rookies and King Dunlap eligible for the practice squad, this seems like a good position to go a man short.
  • DE (6) - Cole, Babin, Howard, Parker, Abiamiri, Clemons. I'm tired of Clemons and his non-production, but I guess he serves a role on special teams. I'm trying to trade him if I can't get a TE for Feeley. Goodbye Bryan Smith, we hardly knew ye.
  • DT (4) - Bunkley, Patterson, Laws, Klecko. I dropped an OL to keep Klecko, but he's definitely earned a spot. I'm very comfortable cutting King Dunlap to keep him.
  • LB (6) - Gocong, Gaither, Jordan, Mays, Wilhelm, White. After the first four spots, there isn't anyone that's earned a place on the roster. But someone has to play, right? I'd keep Wilhelm just because he has experience, which is in short supply on this LB corps. White is purely a special-teamer, and his spot could be taken by Tank's a toss-up between those two.
  • CB (5) - Samuel, Brown, Hobbs, Hanson, Ikegwouno. No one's played well enough to earn that fifth CB spot, so I'm defaulting it to the highest draft pick. Jack's got the most talent, and since he's basically a rookie after being injured all last year, his mistakes are most forgivable.
  • S (4) - Mikell, Demps, Harris, Jones.
  • Special (3) - Akers, Rocca, Dorenbos.

Practice squad candidates - Amendola, Fanaika, Tupuo, Fukou, Dunlap, Gaines.

There weren't many players I'm sorry to see go. The hardest player to cut was Kyle Eckel, and he hardly registers a blip on the talent radar. But he's a hard-worker with versatility and was very helpful to the team last season. He's easily done more to earn a spot than the sixth LB, but I need that last guy for special teams.

There's a very disturbing trend this year for the Eagles - almost always as I go through this process, there are promising players at each position that I'm struggling to choose from. Instead I found several spots where no one had stepped up and I was forced to pick from a collection of equally bad underperformers. It may not seem like a big deal if the fifth CB or the fifth LB isn't very good, but competition at the bottom of the roster makes the whole team better. I don't want to overreact to the preseason, but this is shaping up to be a long year for the Birds.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Post #300

I actually took notes during the game last night. Here are some random thoughts and observations:

  • King Dunlap...really? Beaten on consecutive plays by Vernon Gholston, he looks less and less like an NFL tackle every time I watch him. What's the downside to signing Jon Runyan to a 1-year contract to be our swing tackle?
  • When Eugene Bright dropped that pass, I wrote in my (virtual) notebook..."He's gone." Today, the Eagles released him.
  • Eldra Buckley is running well and looks like he'll win the third tailback job. It's wonderful to have a big tailback to pick up short yardage. He can't pick up the blitz, though.
  • I really like the way Macho Harris plays. At 5'10" I didn't think he had a prayer to be an NFL safety, but he's a tackling machine who always seems to be around the ball. After last night, I'd be less surprised if he wins the starting job over Demps.
  • Moise Fokou looks lost out there. He can't cover a TE and he can't stay in his gap against the run. I'm not happy with our LB play at all this preseason.
  • The run defense was really bad, but it looked a lot better when Mays was in the game.
  • Tony Curtis might really help this team. As a #2 TE, he'll provide solid blocking and a sure-handed redzone target. Exactly what we need. Now trade for Ben Watson, please.
  • Dmitri Patterson and Sean Jones combined on a terrible defensive play to give up a long pass. Neither one found the ball in the air.
  • Jason there any way he won't make the team? Two more sacks, and once again the only Eagle getting pressure on the QB. With him on the opposite side of Trent Cole, we might have something.
  • Several good throws and a few bad ones from Kevin Kolb. I still don't have a strong opinion on this guy, he just looks average.
  • I told you yesterday that Danny Amendola is fun to watch, and he lived up to the billing. He seems like a kid that could contribute as a sixth receiver/return guy, but we couldn't cut Baskett and Brown, right? Maybe we can get him through to the practice squad.
  • Dan Klecko made some plays, but it's probably too little, too late. A hard-working guy that I'd be proud to have on the team, but we're probably only keeping three DTs this season, and he's clearly the fourth-best tackle.
  • Vick looks a lot like McNabb. Can't read a blitz or react to it, likes to run backwards 20 yards before being sacked.
  • Lorenzo Booker played ok, but he's got no shot to make the team. Similar in style to Westbrook and McCoy, but with much less talent.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

What to watch for tonight

Wow, June. The URL to my blog wasn't even in my browser history anymore.


The most boringest preseason game of them all happens tonight, with almost every starter for both teams sitting on the sidelines. But there are still several areas of interest, with two starting jobs undecided and the bottom of the roster to be filled out. Here's what I'll be watching:

  • Wide Receiver - I'm rooting for Brandon Gibson. He's a big kid with speed...projected as a second-round draft pick after his junior year, he did "the right thing" by going back to school as a senior. But several bad QBs and eleven losses later, he had dropped off the radar of most NFL teams and ended up in the sixth round. But there's no mistaking this kid's talent. I think he's got a chance to stick around Philadelphia for years. But what I don't know is: who am I rooting against? Keeping Gibson would mean the end of Reggie Brown or Hank Baskett. Has either one done enough in their career to engender the strange sense of loyalty I feel toward them? Not really, I've just been waiting for them to reach their potential for so long I've developed a personal stake in it. But there's got to be some receiver-starved team out there (Baltimore, Tampa, Jets) who's willing to part with a conditional fifth-round pick for one of these guys. And I haven't even mentioned Danny Amendola, the short kid from Texas Tech, who has the quickness and speed to be a return specialist. He's fun to watch, but don't get used to it. He'll be lucky to make the practice squad, just too many good WRs here (when's the last time I said that about the Eagles?)
  • Joe Mays - His size and attitude make him an ideal fit for the MLB in the Eagles' system, but his pass coverage has been terrible. The Eagles want badly for him to win this job, but unless he shows up big tonight, expect Gaither to get the nod by default. I don't think Moise Fokou was ever a serious challenger.
  • Quintin Demps - I loved this kid out of college, and he has all the physical skills, but I'm not sure his head is screwed on straight. He's no Brandon Marshall, but he's mistake prone and has recently become mopey about not locking up the starting job. Waaaaaaaahhh. Victor Macho Harris appears to be his main competition, but I can't see a rookie winning this job. What the hell happened to Sean Jones? He's been invisible, but I'm not sure if that's a problem on his part or just a lack of opportunity.
  • Offensive line - No, we still won't have any idea if the Week One starters are healthy or if they can block anyone. But you'll have an opportunity to watch last year's draftees Gibson and McGlynn, along with this year's phoenetically challenged picks Paul Fanaika and Fenuki Tupou. McGlynn looks like the new back-up center with Cole switching to guard, Fanaika and Fenuki are practice squad material, and Gibson's probably gone.
  • Defensive end - Jason Babin should make this team, if preseason play has anything to do with it. Of course, I thought Jerome McDougle earned his way onto the team last year and I was wrong about that (he turned out to be worthless with the Giants also.) That means someone from last year has to go - and it's probably either Bryan Smith or Chris Clemons. Honestly, I haven't seen a thing from either one of them, so I don't care which one gets the axe.
  • Running back - The final RB spot seems to be up for grabs between Eldra Buckley and Kyle Eckel. I like what I've seen from both of them in a spot/special teams role. Buckley's a better ball-carrier but Eckel has more versatility. Either one could fill a short-yardage role. Hopefully one of them has a big game tonight and makes this an easy decision.
  • Kevin Kolb - It's time to start looking like an NFL QB, kid. Right now. If you're lucky, you'll get one more injury- or performance-induced shot this year, and you better be prepared to make the most of it. Big Red's patience is running out.

That was more fun than I thought. I may write up a review of the game tomorrow - but in the afternoon, after golf.